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There's Nothing to be Gained in Procrastination

By Henry Haase, Grade 12
I decided to make a graph of what I did over the Thanksgiving break. I kept track of my activities day by day and I found some pretty interesting results.

There is a lot of time spent watching YouTube and on the last day there is a large spike in productivity and homework completion. What does it all mean? This graph shows that I am a procrastinator.

However, you can’t just call me a procrastinator. I prefer the term Master Procrastinator. To procrastinate is to put off doing something. So, its not like I never finish my work; I just put it off to the last possible minute. I finished all my homework this weekend, but I just saved it for the last possible day to finish.

How can you tell that you procrastinate? Well, it is really simple. If you ever say to yourself, “I don’t really need to,” or, “It’s not that important,” or, “I’ll start after,” then you are a procrastinator. I say these phrases daily, and it does not end well. Unfortunately, it is a tough habit to break. As far back as kindergarten, I was procrastinating. I would do school plays in middle school and I wouldn’t learn my lines until the last possible day when we were tested. My Science Fair board in 9th grade I didn’t finish until the day before it was due. I had a test that I figured I “didn’t really need to study for.” Pretty sure I did not do well on that.

Its all fun and games, right? The little cycle we all put ourselves through of stress and agony: completing the homework right before class or studying for the test the night before. You always seem to come out of the dust unscathed. But these habits will stay with you.

About five years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had been through chemotherapy and lost all of her hair. My dad told me to make a nice card to cheer her up. He told me how much it would mean to her. I kept on putting it off. I always said I would do it the next day. Then days turned into weeks and weeks into months. We got a call about 7 months after saying the cancer had returned when we thought it was gone. My father urged me to make the card, nothing too fancy, just a nice hand-written note. Again, I put it off. My father then told me that he had to travel to see her to put all her affairs in order. He asked to give him the card so that I wouldn’t take forever in the mail. But I didn’t have it done. Then we got the call a week later that she had passed. And all I could think of was how I didn’t make the card. All I could think of was how my procrastination got the best of me and there was no more “I’ll do it later.” I had lost my chance.

This feeling tore me apart. I had lost my chance to do something meaningful and it was all because I procrastinated too much. It taught me that there are some things that you shouldn’t push off for later. The fact is, if you keep on putting things off, you might miss something that you will regret for the rest of your life. That feeling is the reason why I call my grandparents every week.

Take it from me, being a Master Procrastinator is not a redeeming quality. All procrastinating does is bring unwanted anxiety into your life. Don’t you just hate the feeling of something not being done? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just do your work? And if procrastination didn’t even exist? I wish I could offer up a solution, but I am still grappling with the problem. Well, this is a problem that can be fixed. It will be very difficult so maybe we will deal with it. Later.